146 VERDICT OX IXDIA disease and of the efforts which Western medical science has made to check it. Long ago I had reached the same conclusion as C. MacLaurin, who summed up his study of European history with the devastating generalization.. .'war and syphilis have been the two chief scourges of mankind.'1 It was MacLaurin who originally set me on the track of this scourge, a knowledge of whose evil workings is essential not only to the contemporary historian but to the novelist, the journalist, the priest,. .and indeed to all who study the hearts of men. The war had only increased the urgent need for public know- ledge. The seaports of Britain showed an increase of over 100 per cent; the munition factories provided figures almost as startling ; and the flames of the curse were fanned by the influx of large numbers of workers from Ireland, where, unfortunately, the policy of the church has been firmly set against any tendency towards sexual enlightenment. This 'hush hush3 policy had been fought for many years by several of us in Fleet Street, and it was a happy moment, when, early in the war, I persuaded the editor of a great and influential newspaper to publish an article—the fbrst of its kind—in which the word 'syphilis' was plainly printed in black and wiiite, instead of being cloaked by the cowardly euphemism.. .'a certain loath- some disease.* The irresponsible credulity of the Ayurvedic doctors, therefore, was a little too much for my party manners. I murmured a few vague 'Reallys' and 'How interesting,* observed that it was vary hot, and took my leave. Apart from the strong impetus given to Ayurveda by the rise of nationalism, it has been quick to exploit the element of the picturesque in, which it is so rich. * We use powdered pearls ! * they exclaim. 'And the navels of unicorns, no doubt,9 we feel like retorting. 'Jewels play a great part in our system,' they cry ; 'rubies and emerald^ and many semi-precious stones/ I myselt have tasted a spoonful of the celebrated mixture of powdered pearls, which is mixed into a glistering white paste mth sugar and rose-water. After taking it I felt, for a moment;" * Post Mortem, by 0. MacLaniin (Jonathan Cape).